Many times when you are working on a project, you will quit too early. You will misread someone’s resistance as a cue that they don’t want you to proceed. Or you might come across a roadblock that no one else seems to feel is valuable to manoeuvre around.
Napoleon Hill tells a story about a gold prospector who stopped just a few feet away from finding the gold that he was seeking. The prospector gave up and sold his equipment to a junk dealer who started digging and struck it rich. Whether the story is true or apocryphal, it provides a good illustration of what can happen if you give up too early, or if you persist.
In his HBR interview regarding the book Atomic Habits, James Clear explains that sometimes change is like warming up a room to melt an ice cube. If the room is at minus five degrees Celcius, and you warm it up to minus four, nothing happens to the ice cube. It isn’t until you warm the room up from zero to plus one that the cube starts melting. Sometimes we quit our initiatives because we know that we are warming up the room, but we don’t see anything melt yet. But maybe we need a few more degrees before the real transformation starts to take place.
Don’t give up too early. Understand that you might be just a few feet away from the mother lode.